Chesham and Amersham by-election result
I called it wrong. My view, up to the morning of the by-election, was that the Conservative Party would hang on, though probably with a smallish majority. After all, even in the Labour landslide (perceived landslide, at least) of 1997, the Con vote in the constituency topped 50%, and the expenses-blodging of the Con MP made no difference at all in 2010 (60.4%).
Yesterday, during the day of the by-election, I saw from news and tweets that the LibDems were showing strongly, but I still did not think that, on balance, they could dislodge the Conservatives, who had held the seat with ease since its creation in 1974.
I was not alone in guessing at a likely successful Con defence. Here was the Chief Political Correspondent of the Financial Times, tweeting only yesterday afternoon…
…and that tweet was retweeted by Britain Elects [@BritainElects].
Now we know. The LibDem vote-share more than doubled to 56.7%. The Con vote slumped to 35.5% (from 55.4% in 2019).
The Green Party candidate managed third place, though losing her deposit; she scored 3.9%, poor compared to 2019’s 5.5%.
The Labour Party lost its deposit for the first time in the history of the constituency, scoring only 1.6% (compared to 12.9% in 2019). Only 622 votes, on a turnout of over 38,000.
Of the remaining four candidates, only Reform Party, the lame-duck successor to Brexit Party, scored above 1% (1.1%). Breakthrough Party 0.5%; Freedom Alliance 0.4% and, very much “tail-end Charlie”, Rejoin EU (0.3%). The last’s candidate, one-time Foreign Office man (and 1990s Con MEP) Brendan Donnelly, had made what must surely have been the least-convincing argument to the voters, i.e. that nothing could be done to help Chesham and Amersham people until the UK rejoined the EU!
My thoughts on the by-election, now that the results are known? First, of course, that this was the convergence of several factors such as, most importantly, the prevalence of tactical voting.
Former or otherwise Labour and Green voters seem to have taken the view that their preferred candidate was not going to win, and so they voted LibDem as the least-worse of the two main options.
Local factors (the usual LibDem strong suit) played a part: the trashing of the Green Belt by the present “Borshch Belt” government; the subservience of the “Conservative” government to the big housebuilding companies and their featureless tracts of expensive but unaesthetic housing; the continuing of the pointless and vandalistic HS2 rail project.
Turnout was low, about 52% (two-thirds of that of the 2019 General Election). Many former Conservative voters, perhaps angry at the HS2 situation, and/or the Con plans to build on the local Green Belt, seem to have stayed home.
My main interest in the by-election was to see how far Labour would slump. I correctly predicted from the start that Labour would lose its deposit, but I had envisaged a vote-share of just below 5%, not one well below 2%!
I suppose that Labour officials will be saying that Labour voters simply “lent their votes” to the LibDems, tactically. Some truth in that, of course, but for me the story is that Labour is very much on the way out now, and is perceived as a niche party rather than as an alternative government.
The Labour lost deposit in Chesham and Amersham will quicken interest in how Labour will do in the other by-election, at Batley and Spen, which is set down for 1 July 2021 (Thursday week). I have already blogged about that contest: https://ianrobertmillard.org/2021/06/04/the-batley-and-spen-by-election-2021/.
The result at Chesham and Amersham certainly reinforces the view that Labour has nothing at all to offer most English people, and that most English people are alert to that fact.
I have blogged fairly prolifically about Labour’s loss of a role and a purpose in the post-1989 space. What is extraordinary is that Labour’s remaining supporters do not see what is in front of their eyes. For them, there are two main System parties, and Labour is one of them, and all they need to do is wait until the pendulum swings back their way.
In reality, Labour has lost Scotland forever, and any “Independence” (however defined) will mean that Labour would not even be able to form a UK coalition or minority government with SNP support. The 59 Scottish seats are vital.
The breakdown of the old Labour-voting industrial communities in the North and Midlands, and in Wales, leaves Labour like a spare guest at a festivity.
One could imagine that a charismatic Labour leader with real ideas might be able to reinvent Labour, perhaps along the lines of Blue Labour [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Labour], a kind of very watered-down “national socialism” in an English context.
There is no sign at present that Labour can do that. Jewish-lobby puppet Keir Starmer is as dull as ditchwater, and has no interesting ideas at all politically or socially, like most barristers. Corbyn got halfway there, despite being not too intelligent and being almost uneducated.
Corbyn was too weak on the Jewish Question or “JQ”, while Starmer is just a complete puppet. Both also subscribe to the pathetic “Black Lives Matter” nonsense. Starmer was photographed on his knee, with Angela Rayner, displaying fealty to the nonsense. At least Boris-idiot has not done that!
Labour is now basically a party for some ethnic minorities, for some NHS and other public service employees, and for the sort of unthinking pseudo-“socialists” found on Twitter.
Of course, the LibDems will claim that this is the moment for their next big upsurge. Doubtful. The LibDems are currently polling, with the Greens, somewhere around 7%. The LibDems, and before them their ancestor-party, the Liberals, did this: have a big by-election success, followed by nothing very much. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1962_Orpington_by-election; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1958_Torrington_by-election; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1990_Eastbourne_by-election.
Could there be similar upsets? I suppose so, if there is dissatisfaction with the Conservatives, a by-election, and a seat where there is a strong LibDem presence but also where Labour and others have no real chance of success. However, I doubt that the LibDems are really reviving across the board.
Ha ha! The sort of unthinking nonsense one would expect from that sort of creature. She managed to get to the age of about 30 without ever having had a job, after which she got in on the old “anti-racism” and local councillor freebie system. She is presently awaiting trial on a serious charge…”Vote Labour!”(if you are an idiot!)… [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claudia_Webbe].
Incidentally, people might like to look at other deadhead MPs I have highlighted. Here is one (now removed from Parliament and living on the dole): https://ianrobertmillard.org/2018/12/21/deadhead-mps-an-occasional-series-the-fiona-onasanya-story/.
Before the 2017 and 2019 general elections, several people (not markedly “extreme”) remarked to me that Corbyn seemed to be “surrounded everywhere he goes by a gaggle of black women”.
What is missing from the comments is that only those with documentary proof of recent vaccination etc can attend this year: https://www.ascot.co.uk/royal-ascot/plan-your-day-2021.
…and those masks take up to 450 years to break down into their constituent elements.
Refer to my comments made above in the blog today…
22 thoughts on “Diary Blog, 18 June 2021”
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-57525971?at_campaign=64&at_medium=custom7&at_custom2=twitter&at_custom1=%5Bpost+type%5D&at_custom4=B4AAB3EA-D026-11EB-9A31-B7223A982C1E&at_custom3=%40BBCWorld If only!
If the nationalist soldiers and police are all removed from the polizei and Bundeswehr, I wonder what might happen then…
I predicted the Lib Dems would do well and I did think they might have a small chance of winning the seat though I expected that if they did they would only just get the 14.5% ‘swing’ needed and win by less than 1,000 votes or even less like the 57 votes Alan Beith won the seat of Berwick Upon Tweed by in the by-election held there in 1973.
This by election result is nothing less than a Midsomer Tory Murder in leafy ‘True Blue’ Buckinghamshire!😂😃👌😎🍷😂:
It is worth noting that in the disastrous county council elections of 1993 the Tories under hapless John Major lost EVERY county they controlled then including my own of Essex apart from Buckinghamshire which shows you how strongly supportive of the globalist CONServative Party the county normally is.
M’Lord of Essex:
I admit it: you were right and I was wrong. Credit where due. I thought a Con win with LibDems in fairly close second place.
BTW, just looking at this
Ha, ha, who would have thought a quaint town like Old Amersham would be situated in a now fairly safe Liberal Democrat held constituency with the Lib Dem MP (very unusually for a Lib Dem) having a plus 50% share of the vote in her seat?😂😂😂😎🍷🤣🤣🤣😄😄
This is the sort of disastrous by-election result the CONS can expect when they act like environmental vandals and push through silly train sets (the only kind of people using HS2 will be rich business people who will be increasingly working from home using advanced 5g and even 6g connections by the time the white elephant opens) through NOT JUST the Metropolitan Green Belt but ALSO a NATIONALLY IMPORTANT ‘Area of Outstanding National Beauty’ (AONB) called the Chiltern Hills.🤬😡☹️😞
The electorate there doesn’t wish to see their beautiful environment systematically smashed because of this silly project and NOR do they want the Green Belt built over because of Boris’s so-called ‘levelling-up’ agenda or because over the last eleven years the CONS have not taken action to control immigration properly thereby massively increasing housing demand.🤬😡🙄☹️😞
M’Lord of Essex:
I agree re HS2 *but* the LibDems are very pro-HS2, so that as such was not the trigger for the Amersham Uprising…
I believe they want to see more extensive mitigation of the bad environmental effects on the route such as a longer tunnel under the Chilterns. I very much hope that happens.
This area of the Chilterns is, as I said, not just in the Metropolitan Green Belt but is also a NATIONALLY IMPORTANT scenic area which is why it was designated an ‘Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ (AONB) in the 1960’s by the Labour government (a good thing Wilson’s government did).
It fully deserves the protection that AONB status is supposed to give (only one step below that of National Parks) not least because The Chilterns are one of the loveliest stretches of open countryside near to London and a vital ‘Green Lung’ for it.
I have been to the area and visited that nice town of Old Amersham. Apparently, the HS2 monstrosity will go extremely near that High Street and due to the very high speed of the trains it will probably rock the foundations of some of those ancient buildings so it no wonder the traditionally Tory voting denizens of the town are up in arms about this project and took vented their frustrations about it in the by-election.
Indeed, m’Lord of Essex, but the project will still power through there…unless there is “action directe”…
HS2 was a factor along with the wider ‘reforms’ to the planning system in order to liberalise them and make mass hose building in nice Tory areas like Chesham and Amersham and my own in Brentwood and Ongar easier.
But there are other factors too. Put simply, Chesham and Amersham is a seat that has a large numbers of professionals, people who work in the City, highly educated people with degrees in it.
Many of these traditionally Tory voters are a bit worried about what they perceive as the the direction of the CON Party under Boris.
Highly educated, traditionally Tory voters there are aghast that what was once a serious political party has tuned into a joke party with a certifiable clown as leader and PM.
Coco The Clown amuses Northern Chavs in Hartlepool and probably Batley and Spen but he doesn’t go down all that well in seats like Chesham and Amersham.
This pretty stunning result for the Lib Dems also came in one of the minority of Tory held seats that voted REMAIN at the referendum of 2016 and this is why I thought Sarah Green had a chance of winning.
Quite a few normally Tory voters in this seat think Brexit was and remains a national error.
This result merely confirms a trend seen at the last general election where some affluent Tory held and pro-Remain seats had quite good swings to the Liberal Democrats such as Dominic Raab’s constituency of Esher and Walton, Jeremy Hunt’s seat of South West Surrey, Wimbledon, Cheltenham,,Winchester, South Cambridgeshire, South East Cambridgeshire, Guildford, Woking, Cities of London and Westminster ect.
It was no 51 on the Lib Dem target list:
The noted polling expert, Sir John Curtice, believes many people are still basing their political choices a lot on pro-Brexit/pro-Remain/pro Rejoin eventually lines.
The Tories do have some things to worry about in their ‘Blue Wall’ seats:
M’Lord of Essex: it is a brave fellow who disagrees with Prof. Sir John Curtice, but I wonder whether he is right on the aspects you mention.
As you can see there it needed a substantial swing of 14.5% for the Liberal Democrats to win it but there are easier seats to win in new by-elections or even at a general election.
There were some undoubted local factors in this result ie HS2 but the planning ‘reforms’/effective ‘developers’s charter’ plans Boris has have a wider resonance than just this seat of Chesham and Amersham or the neighbouring one of Aylesbury (the small and lovely town of Wendover is going to have this monstrosity of HS2 go right by the High Street).
These ‘reforms’ to the planning laws affect many normally safe Tory seats around London in Surrey, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Kent and my own in Brentwood and Ongar in Essex.
The electorate of Chesham and Amersham spoke up not just for their own seat but also other Tory seats as well.👌🍷😎😂
Not in our backyards, Boris! 🤬😡😞☹️Build your new homes in Hartlepool and Batley and Spen!
Evidently, The ClownTM is popular in some areas up North but not in the more educated parts of South Eastern England (Chesham and Amersham supposedly has a large number of people with degrees)
Coco The Clown’ and his goon squad took a bit of a beating on Thursday!😂🍷🤣👌😎😂😂😂
As I said, I thought the Lib Dems might win it but not by any more than a thousand votes and I expected a smaller margin if it was going to happen.
The ‘swing’ towards the Liberal Democrats of 25.1% was much bigger than I thought was possible and compares favourably with previous famous Lib Dem By-election victories such as at Eastbourne in October 1990 which saw a 20.0% pro Lib Dem swing.
The Ribble Valley By-Election in 1991 had a similar ‘swing’ of 24.7% and the Labour candidate also suffered a typical tactical ‘third party squeeze effect’ on that occasion BUT not to the extent where the Labour vote almost entirely vanished!
Going forward, I suspect it was the extreme readiness of Labour voters to vote Lib Dem tactically AND IMPORTANTLY to do this to such a very large extent that the Labour vote almost vanished is the aspect of this result that will worry Tory MPs and party strategists the most as quite a few Tory MPs could be unseated in this way if it happens on a large enough scale at a general election.
M’Lord of Essex:
I blogged about tactical voting a couple of years ago. Not a very satisfactory answer to the inadequacies of our electoral system, but the only (legal) way to make the main parties sit up and listen.
Indeed.Tactical voting is not good and should be disapproved of but the fact that increasingly large numbers of voters want to do it and feel they have no option but to engage in it is a heavy black mark against our decrepit, archaic, and clearly out of date and unfit for purpose electoral system of First Past The Post (better and more accurately known as Single Member Plurality (SMP).
Most electoral systems will lead some voters to use tactical voting BUT FPTP/SMP POSITIVELY ENCOURAGES people to do it and that is a very bad point (one of its worst ones) against this system and one of the prime reasons it should not be used as a stand alone system for council elections and especially the House of Commons.
M’Lord of Essex:
A party, in the present broken system, that has a Commons majority or imagines that it will have one, will not approve proportional representation. What is now extraordinary is that Labour, with very little chance of a Commons majority in the near or middle future, will *still* not get behind it. Deluded, arguably. If both Labour and LibDems (while they still eist) united in pledging PR, it mght help them to get that coalition majority to implement PR.
The Tory vote in the seat fell more than it was supposed to have done. That internal Lib Dem poll that was reported by the CityAM newspaper a day or so before the by-election had the Liberal Democrats on 41% and the Tory vote only falling by ten percent from 55% at the general election of 2019 to 45%.
That it fell by nearly 20% when the government is still fairly popular according to the national polls should be quite concerning to Tory MPs.
The Tory vote didn’t fall as much as at the Newbury By-Election in 1993 where it fell 29% and where the Liberal Democrats had a mildly bigger swing of 28.4%.
It wasn’t as impressive a performance from the Liberal Democrats as occurred at the Christchurch By-Election also in 1993. However, John Major was leading a FOURTH consecutive term of Tory government and his government had started to become very unpopular as the County Council elections of that year I spoke about above indicated.
The ‘swing’ at Christchurch to the Liberal Democrats was a record one in a previous Tory seat of 35.4%, had the highest Lib Dem vote increase in a previously Tory seat of 38.6% and the largest fall in the Tory vote of 32.2%
Sarah Green got the FOURTH biggest increase in vote share for a Liberal/Lib Dem candidate at a by-election of 30.4%:
The ‘swing’ from the Tories to Liberal Democrats of 25.1% was also the fourth highest after Christchurch, Newbury and Orpington in 1962.